The Physical and Mental Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

There are few things more liberating than being outside on a Saturday morning, and NOT because you’re squinting in the sun on your walk of shame back to your car or home. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but in case you missed it, did you know the average person spends TWO YEARS of their life hungover? There are also the added costs of paying for takeout food because you’re too drunk or hungover to function properly. But I know for damn sure that I am not throwing away cash like I was when I spent the equivalent of $400 USD per week on alcohol and cigarettes (liquor is expensive in the country where I live).

Benefits of Sobriety

When you choose to go to the gym or take a cooking class, you’re signaling that you are open to seeing what else this life has to offer. The cumulative effects of all these new experiences and choices add up. People who are successful with their sobriety find ways to keep themselves busy. It’s through that process that many people start to forgive themselves and see the value they can bring to the world. When I got sober, it became very clear who I hung out with because I needed bar buddies and who I actually enjoyed being around.

Managing your drinking through quarantine

However, it’s also common to experience the ‘early recovery identity crisis,’ which describes figuring out who you are without alcohol. Given how alcohol and mental health conditions interact, it’s also common to experience decreased levels of depression and anxiety in sobriety. Learning how to process uncomfortable feelings without drinking will better equip you for life’s challenges, and improve your overall health and wellness. The best part about the reasons to stay sober is that they’re vast and multifaceted.

  • While it will take time to reverse many of the physical damages of addiction, sobriety helps you achieve optimal health.
  • Below are some of the many benefits of sobriety that are worth considering when choosing whether to work toward sobriety and maintain a life of abstinence.
  • “Alcohol increases cortisol, a stress hormone that can inhibit weight loss,” notes Dr. Kennedy.
  • “Every year, I get on a plane and go to Washington,” Doucette said.

Perhaps one of the most profound benefits of sobriety is the physiological difference you will feel without drugs or alcohol in your system. You will sleep more soundly, allowing the body to fully recharge and heal. You will discover newfound energy and motivation, putting it towards exercise and healthy habits. You will regain your appetite and desire to prepare balanced meals. And with these benefits come an invaluable boost in self-esteem and confidence. While emotional stability might not be present in early recovery, long-term sobriety can help you achieve emotional stability to support long-term addiction recovery.

For feeling great in your own skin

Similar to how you’d “wring out a a sponge,” brain cells actually shrivel up to 40% of their usual size to expose and wash away waste. Meanwhile, there’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep after a full day of being sober. When you’re sober, your body is restored and your mind refreshed.

  • With a clear mind and greater focus, individuals are better equipped to excel in their careers and pursue personal and financial goals.
  • BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor.

You may also experience what is commonly called sobriety fatigue, which refers to the overall exhaustion that may occur as a result of the emotional and physical stress of staying sober. So, it’s extra helpful to have a support network available to you when you need it. Now that you are sober, you may have discovered that some of your past relationships were not only unhealthy but downright toxic. It’s not just your drinking buddies and drug dealers who can get you into trouble—sometimes those who are closest to you can contribute to a relapse. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) involves experiencing withdrawal symptoms that persist past the detox period.

Improved Heart and Liver Function

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.2 million U.S. adults had both mental health disorders and a substance use disorder in 2018, yet nearly 60% did not get treatment. The American Society of Clinical Oncology adds that limiting or quitting alcohol while you’re having cancer treatment may help you avoid complications. This includes cancer recurrence or the development of secondary primary tumors (SPTs).

Addicts drink and abuse drugs like there’s no tomorrow because their brains have been reprogrammed not to think about tomorrow — tomorrow is their long term goal and they’re busy living for today. Once you’re sober, it’s fascinating to reflect on how much time you really have. Alcohol messes with our rewards system in the brain, causing us to seek out substances that provide immediate gratification. This is what leads many people suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) to see all activities as a means to an end. For true addicts, it’s not simply drinking alcohol, it’s how often they spend thinking about it. Tonya Doucette’s son battled addiction after being introduced to liquor and drugs by an adult family member as an adolescent.

Withdrawal symptoms can often make early sobriety days challenging, and without the right support, many fall back to old habits and relapse. Nonetheless, if you focus on the many physical and mental health benefits of sobriety, you’ll quickly realize it’s all worth it in the end. If you’re in early recovery, these are some benefits of sobriety to look forward to. Opiate abuse and addiction, for example, can lead to malnutrition and stimulants can lead to unhealthy weight loss. On the same token, alcoholism can lead to anemia and liver disease.

Benefits of Sobriety

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